Q for the electricians

Nan's NookArchives : Grow Chambers : Projects : New Tek : Q for the electricians
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By Chuck Dicey (Dirtywop) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 11:51 pm:

I spent today struggling with a homemade incubator....
I took a trip to the local Ace and picked up a big styrofoam cooler, a couple light fixtures, a cheap rheostat, and some 25 watt bulbs. I rigged it up so when the rhoestat ( dimmer ) is at it's lowest setting right up against the toggle, it maintains a perfect 87 degrees. "Perfect", I thought, and minded my business. But eventually as I kept coming back to check it, I found the bulbs burnt out. Or so I thought... and upon turning the rheostat up slightly the bulbs came back on. I turned it back to the desired level only to see after 10 minutes that it had went out again. Somehow, with the bulbs dimmed as low as they go( which makes for 87 degrees) , they eventually cannot stay lit. The bulbs aren't shot, nor the dimmer. What's going on? Please help

By Chuck Dicey (Dirtywop) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 11:54 pm:

o yea...
with the dimmer turned up to just above the lowest setting, the bulbs can stay on, but the temerature is up in the mid 90's. Is that an ok incubation temp...will it harm the mycelium or dry the substrate significantly?
Thank you Nan's Nook

By Dr. Cubensis (Shroomzilla) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 12:33 am:

My friend has a fish tank heater with the same problem, he thought it was the heater...

Dunno why everyone has to have a complex incubator.

Keep hearing that a lightbulb in a cabinet will dry out jars...

Jars usually have plenty of moisture in them, in my friends experience anyway... And a lightbulb has been working fine for months.. Haven't dried a jar out yet and maintain a consistant heat of about 83 degrees... Could go higher, but no need to rush things..

Good luck with your question Chuck :) I'd like to know the answer as well...

Oh, and mid 90's seems a BIT high, would imagine that might dry the jars out after some time...

By Kman (Kman) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 01:12 am:

I have my jars incubating in the top shelf of my closet were my terrarium is too. I have a large stand up oil heater that keeps my terrarium right at 75 and in the top of my closet were all the hot air will rise it sits at just over 85.

By Merlin (Merlin) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 01:20 am:

I'm glad to finally see someone else that figured the easy way around incubating/fruiting temps. This system has worked fine since it got cold here. I bet the oil heater (no fan?) doesn't dry the air as much as my little electic forced air unit does.

By An guy (Boomer) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 02:15 am:

I guess you changed bulbs to make sure that they're ok, so...

it's a cheap dimmer- that's telling- is it inside the cooler?

what happens, and this is all I can think of at the moment, is this: the resistive winding in the dimmer is not so high quality. when it conducts, it heats up. when a thing changes temperature, it changes it's resistivity, which in turn affects the amount of electricity it will pass for a given voltage. Usually things get more resistive as they heat up.

you say it goes back on when you take it off the sweet spot, and then when you go back to it, it'll be on for a bit and then dim- that seems like that's a weak spot on the winding.

if the dimmer is in the cooler, take it out, see if that helps. If not, I'd try a new dimmer.

I could be wrong- like computers, this shit is hard to diagnose w/o being there....hope it helps

By Kman (Kman) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 03:05 am:

ya there is no fan so it really doesn't dry the air and my room stays nice and warm too! It works for me.

By Chuck Dicey (Dirtywop) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 03:18 am:

Thank you very much for the quick replies...
I solved my problem.
i switched the bulbs to these weird vanity bulbs I had and it stoped.
not a cheap rheostat, a cheap lightbulb

By Chuck Dicey (Dirtywop) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 03:35 am:

o wait...
doh....there it goes again, just took longer
this sucks
the lowest setting on the dimmer just won't keep the bulb lit for long...and thats the only way to keep it at 87!
maybe it has to do with my wiring?
maybe I could just crank it up a little and leave the lid off
o well...thanks Nan
you've been great
any more suggestions greatly appreciated

By Spun Yun Gi (Spunion_Elf) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 08:52 am:

I'd suggest using a lower wattage bulb and turning the rheostat up to where it will stay on, or simply keep the cooler open slightly to let out a little excess heat.

Hope ya can get it working, duder.


By quote: (Quote) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 02:06 pm:

if it goes out, cools off, then comes back on, it should still be fine.

By Maliki vision seaker (Maliki) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 02:47 pm:

Im with quote there , if it goes out and comes back on its fine as long as it holds a farley consistant temp. An guy has the right idea with the resistance and heat changing its values. I would have simply picked up a thermostat instead of the dimmer , cost abought the same and a thermostat will do exactly what your trying to do , control tempreture , Line Level is the key phrase your looking for when purchasing one.

By Chuck Dicey (Dirtywop) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 05:23 pm:

thanks guys
maybe I should have got a thermostat, but actually they were much more expensive than the dimmer. Rheostat- $3.69....Line voltage thermostat-$23.something.
It hasn't really been turning off cooling and coming back on...it's just kinda like blowing out like a candle while it's on it's lowest setting, until I turn it up a notch, then I turn it back down, and it's fine for 10 more minutes.
Sorry for the big fuss over my dopey tinkerings =)
...So far, taking mr. elf's advice , I can keep a perfect 87 since the temp is a constant 70 in my house I can just leave the lid cracked and it's great! thanks alot
i think